The prominent Dutch crime reporter Peter de Vries succumbed to his serious injuries less than ten days after an assassination attempt in Amsterdam. The family announced on Thursday. The 64-year-old De Vries was gunned down on July 6th. "Peter fought to the end, but he couldn't win the fight," said the family's statement. Colleagues and politicians reacted with dismay to the news.
A man had fired multiple shots at the reporter in the street while he was leaving a television studio. The assassination shocked the Netherlands deeply and was also received with horror internationally. Two men, a 35-year-old Pole residing in Maurik in the south-east of the country, and a 21-year-old Rotterdam native were arrested shortly after the crime. One of them is said to be the Sagittarius. The police had not yet commented on the background to the crime. However, there is much evidence that the murder is related to the reporter's work.
"That is an indescribably great loss," said a joint statement by RTL Nederland and the production house Fremantle Nederland. De Vries touched many "with his courage, his humanity and his determined fight for justice". "We will continue to speak freely about grievances and injustices in society, as he has done all his life," announced the company.
Despite threats, he had refused personal protection
De Vries was currently the confidante of the key witness in a large criminal case against a drug gang. The brother of the key witness and his defense lawyer had already been murdered in 2019. The reporter had also been threatened. But he had refused personal protection. Politicians from home and abroad had sharply condemned the act as an attack on the rule of law and journalism. Media associations demanded unreserved clarification.
De Vries was the leading crime reporter in the Netherlands for almost 30 years and has often appeared as a spokesperson for victims or witnesses at trials. He was a regular guest on TV talk shows. The reporter became internationally known in 1987 with his bestseller about the kidnapping of the brewer Freddy Heineken. In 2008 he won an Emmy Award for reporting on the Natalee Holloway case. The American disappeared in Aruba in 2005 and was believed to have been killed by a Dutchman.
The German Association of Journalists said on Thursday that in de Vries journalism was losing a “committed, courageous colleague who brought light into the darkness of criminal machinations and had to pay with his life for it”.